Active since 2000, Liquid Architecture is a Naarm (Melbourne) based organisation supporting experimental, interdisciplinary and critical work addressing sound and listening in context.
Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. To do this, we host experiences at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, supporting artists to produce performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.
Liquid Architecture is curatorially driven and our methodology embraces research, collaborations and imaginations. We want to echo beyond local conversations, problems, debates and questions, to reverberate across media and disciplines, and so to sound out new discourses about the audible world, and beyond.
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung as the Traditional Owners and sovereign custodians of the Country on which we practice. We extend our respects to their Elders past and present, and to all First Peoples.
DANNY BUTT (CHAIR) is Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Practice at Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, where he is also Graduate Research Convenor for Design and Social Practice. His book Artistic Research in the Future Academy was published by Intellect/University of Chicago Press in 2017, and he is on the Editorial Board of the Journal for Artistic Research.
MARK NOLEN (TREASURER) is a Certified Practising Accountant with extensive experience in the creative industries sector. He is currently Management Accountant at ACMI, having previously worked in a similar role at Film Victoria. Along the way, he has helped countless singers, actors, and even clowns get their taxes in order – no laughing matter! When not crunching numbers, you can find Mark sitting back with a fine drop of Scotch whisky, soaking up some even finer tunes.
LEANA PAPAELIA (SECRETARY) is a barrister at the Victorian Bar and a soprano. At the Bar, Leana practices in commercial and public law with a focus on banking and financial services regulation, corporations and securities, insolvency, trade practices and human rights. Leana holds an AMusA and a BMus (Hons) majoring in vocal performance. She received a university scholarship to complete her honours and, in her final year of study, was awarded the Horace Keats Memorial Prize for Excellence in Vocal Performance. Leana currently studies under the direction of Loris Synan OAM. Leana is a board member of the Australian Contemporary Opera Company and has held board positions with Lawyers for Animals, an organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of animals through education and law, and Right Now, an independent not-for-profit mediation organisation focusing on human rights issues in Australia.
NARETHA WILLIAMS (DIRECTOR) is an accomplished practitioner in the Australian creative industries sector. An established artist and music producer, she is a seasoned industry professional with extensive experience across a dynamic range of appointments. Naretha has worked with leading Australian companies and First Nations initiatives, flagship festivals and events, has toured internationally and won several awards. Credits include: St Kilda Festival, Bless Your Blak Arts Festival, Australasian World Music Expo, International Symposium on Electronic Art, Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival, Science Gallery London, Chunky Move, Performance Space New York, The Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ, Sydney Myer Music Bowl, Sydney Dance Company, and Melbourne’s Flash Forward.
GAIL PRIEST (DIRECTOR) is a sound artist and writer based on Dharug and Gundungurra land (Katoomba, NSW). Her work spans soundtracks for dance, theatre and video, solo electro-acoustic performance as well sound installations for gallery contexts, both solo and in collaboration. She has performed her live compositions and exhibited sound installations nationally and internationally including in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Norway and the Netherlands. In 2015-16 she was awarded an Emerging & Experimental Arts Fellowship from the Australia Council. She has undertaken numerous radio commissions and releases music on her own label Metal Bitch Recordings as well as Flaming Pines, Endgame Records and room40. She curates events and exhibitions and writes fictively and factually about sound and media art, working for RealTime magazine for over 15 years. She has been on the board of Performance Space (2011-2014), and a peer assessor for the Australia Council. She has just completed a PhD in creative sound theory at UTS. www.gailpriest.net
ANDY MILLER (DIRECTOR) currently works as the General Manager of Multicultural Arts Victoria. Initially trained as a painter at the Canberra School of Art, Andy Miller worked in theatre for a number of years before working to establish arts programs in the community sector. Following a few years as an arts and cultural officer at two local governments, Andy began a career in the state public service in various senior roles at Arts Victoria and Creative Victoria and was seconded for a period with Creative Partnerships Australia, as Senior Programs Manager. As well as a Bachelor in Fine Arts, he has a Masters in Public Policy and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Melbourne.
REBECA SACCHERO (DIRECTOR)
Rebeca Sacchero is a Producer with extensive experience across multiple Metro Melbourne Inner North Local Government Areas. Rebeca understands the local government context whilst also having relationships and experience in small to medium arts orgs. She has been working in the space of community engaged practice and is passionate about creating arts access for under-represented communities. She has a strong track record of successful projects with youth, the LGBTQIA+ community, CALD communities and seniors. She has worked across visual arts, performing arts and digital media, with a range of government and private stakeholders. These include major festivals, local and state Government, ARI’s, schools, community health orgs, and social enterprises. She completed a degree in Art History and Curatorship at Monash University in 2017 and in 2019 was selected for Leadership Victoria’s LGBTQIA+ Leadership program. She also runs her own community building electronic music events in which she has toured international artists, and is a DJ.
DAVID CHESWORTH (DIRECTOR) is an artist and composer, known for his experimental, and at times minimalist music, who has worked with electronics, contemporary ensembles, film, theatre, and experimental opera. Together with Sonia Leber, David has created installation artworks using sound, video, architecture and public participation. Exhibitions include ‘56th Venice Biennale (2015), ‘19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), and Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013-14). Festivals featuring Chesworth’s music and sound works include Ars Electronica; Festival D’Automne de Paris; Bang on a Can Marathon, New York, Biennale of Sydney; Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals; and MONA FOMA. Early in his career he was co-founder of post-punk band Essendon Airport and for five years was coordinator of the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne. David is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, researching auditory archives.
PATRICK HARTONO (MEMBER) Born in Makassar 1988, Patrick Gunawan Hartono is an Indonesian electroacoustic composer and audiovisual artist. He earned a BMus in Composition (Cum laude) from Rotterdam Conservatory with Minor Study at The Institute of Sonology, MMus in Sonic Arts from the University of London, Goldsmiths, and Live Electronic Course from IRCAM, Paris. In 2017 he won the ICMA audience award for his generative audiovisual piece “Matrix Studies” and the 1st Prize for WOCMAT 2019 International Electroacoustic Music Young Composer Award. Most of his works use the sound of Indonesian traditional music instruments, computer-generated sound/images, field recordings; transformed, rearranged, modulated by mathematical rules, real-time interaction, and controlled random operations. Patrick is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Melbourne while actively involved in local and international electroacoustic/computer music communities.
MONICA LIM (DIRECTOR) is a Melbourne-based pianist and composer of classical contemporary and experimental music. Born in Malaysia and then migrating to Australia in her teens, Monica initially practiced as a Tax Consultant for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, before pursuing her own interests in business and the arts. She has produced work for theatre, contemporary dance, installations, and film, as well as solo and ensemble instrumental pieces. She is interested in new cross-disciplinary genres and forms as well as combinations of new technology with music. Monica is currently undertaking a PhD at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne in interactive technology, AI and gesture-led composition. Monica is co-founder of Project Eleven, a philanthropic initiative which supports the contemporary arts and serves on the boards of the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Substation and Liquid Architecture as well as the Member’s Council for Musica Viva.
Lucreccia Quintanilla and Kristi Monfries (Co-Directors)
Rohan Rebeiro (Creative Producer)
Ronen Jafari (Programs Coordinator)
Laura McLean (Associate Curator - Capture All)
Helen Grogan (Associate Researcher and Archivist)
Debris Facility (Associate Producer)
Liang Luscombe (Editor-at-Large Editor - Disclaimer)
We welcome conversation, ideas and feedback at any time.
104/35 Johnston Street
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Born in 1947, Michel Chion is a composer, filmmaker, historian and writer – and arguably the world’s foremost thinker on sound in cinema.
In the 1970s he was a member of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), the influential collective led by composer and theoretician Pierre Schaeffer dedicated to furthering the art of ‘musique concrète’ through experiments in audiovisual communication, audible phenomena and music in general. It was at the GRM that Chion composed arguably his most famous work, Requiem, a noisy and surreal deconstruction of the Funeral Mass made whilst pondering the “troubled minority of the living, rather than the silent majority of the dead.”
Since the 1980s, Chion has written extensively on the relationship of sound and image in the cinema, publishing in 1990 what many consider the definitive theoretical guide to the subject, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. In this momentous book, Chion advances a whole new lexicon for describing audio-visual concepts, via the works of Jacques Tati, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard and others. On reading, film scholar Claudia Gorbman was moved to name him “a poet in theoretician’s clothing.”
For this program, Michel Chion will perform an epic two-and-a-half-hour concert for ten surround-speakers featuring the classic composition Requiem (1973) alongside two new audiovisual compositions, The Scream (2017), and Third Symphony (2016).
notes by Michel Chion
A CONCERT IN TWO PARTS
1: LE CRI, 2017, 17 ‘ and REQUIEM, 1973, 37’26
2: THIRD SYMPHONY, audio-divisive, 2016, 88 ‘
The first part of this concert comprises two works of musique concrète for ‘fixed’ sounds, with the projection of a blank image, intended to create a listening frame and to display the English subtitles of the text that is heard. The second part proposes an “audio-divisive” music, consisting of silent images, sounds on a blank background, and images and sounds synchronised in different ways.
Image: Michel Chion, R. Cahen and R. Cochini at GRM, 1974
LE CRI (The Scream)
Musique concrète for two-track video-audio 2017.
World Premiere. 17 ‘
By definition, in musique concrète (that is, music for fixed sounds), anything can arise at any moment from the loudspeaker, sounds from which we can not be protected—since we possess no natural eyelids for sound—but also sound with no frame, which spreads into space, even when it comes from a single source. The scream will not be heard much, but the scream will be awaited; it will be proposed in small pieces, as when one revolves around a sculpture, a volume. My project is to make a work in which there is no impression of a linear discourse, but rather the exploration of a space while maintaining a great tension. But it is not a tragic scream (as in the famous painting of Edvard Munch), rather a scream of life ….
This work was done in my personal studio, combining the tape recorder (for creating sounds) and the computer (for final editing). It is presented in a new form: with a title on a black screen and in silence, to create an ‘interval’ of time before the work begins, and to allow the work to begin in an atmosphere of concentration. The screen then remains black throughout the duration of the listening.
M.C., April 9, 2017
Musique concrète for two-track video-audio. In two stages and ten movements, based on texts of the Mass of the Funerals 1973.
First performance of the version with English subtitles. 37’26”
Requiem as a whole is built on a system of echoes and correspondences that seem to be symmetrically organised around an axis represented by the work’s middle point. The form was developed in the course of the process, as a dramatic scheme that played off the listener’s memory and premonitions, since once the listener has heard the work more than once, they can predict as well as recall. Echoes and correspondences of what? Themes, musical motives, ranging from the most elemental (a loop, raw matter) to the most elaborated (a musical development), and which are reprised, quoted or announced at various moments of the work – some are easily identifiable as “leitmotivs” (theme-chorus from the Dies Irae quoted in the finale), while others are accompanying motives, matter that does not need to be memorised at a conscious level. An extreme case of such echo effect is found in the short movements 2 & 9, which use almost the same “music” cast under completely opposite sound lighting. The centre of the work, the axis of that symmetry, is the 6th movement Evangile, where happens a symbolical tear in the magnetic tape, a crack in the work itself, opening in the timeline a breach of eternity that lets us glimpse “something else.”
Within this large form in two parts, we find the small forms of each movement: forms with choruses and episodes, litanies, recitativo, levelled crescendos, etc. There is also another formal course delineated by the succession of several vocal characters, their timbre, intonation, and relation to the libretto. The only time a well-assured, peremptory voice is clearly heard is, once again, at that central moment in Evangile (“il va ressusciter” or “he will rise”), where its irruption seems to spread panic throughout the whole system and provoke the breach…
Like the requiems of the classical era, this Requiem‘s text is taken from the Funeral Mass, to which are added an Epistle, a Gospel and a Pater Noster. The texts are mostly said in their original language (Latin or Greek) and in French, in some rare cases. The Requiem was composed whilst thinking about the troubled minority of the living, rather than the silent majority of the dead. I tried to turn this oratorio into a “great sonic show,” cinemascope music. One can detect the obvious (at least to me) influence of filmmakers and films, more in the play of forms, time and space, as opposed to realistic evocations. Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus was an influence, again acknowledged after the fact; the pages spent describing the imaginary works of Adrian Leverkühn might have inspired the megalomaniac dream of carrying bits and pieces of them into the sound world.
With Requiem, my intention was not to deliver a message or a manifesto, whether pro- or anti-religious. Instead, this work is a personal testimony, into which listeners are invited to project their own self, if they care to inhabit it with their own experience and sensibility.
1er temps: 1. Introït – 2. Kyrie Eleison – 3. Epître – 4. Dies Irae – 5. Offertoire – 6. Evangile
2ème temps: 7. Sanctus – 8. Agnus Dei – 9. Lux aeterna – 10. Libera me
Voices: André Allag, Michèle Bokanowski, Caroline, Laure et Pierre Bruas, Robert Cahen, M.C., Catherine Colas, Jean-Pierre Colas, Catherine Guérin, Bernard Guillochon, Geneviève Julien-Labruyère, L’Ensemble vocal Le Madrigal, dir. Rachid Safir.
Image: Michel Chion and Pierre Schaeffer presenting the Guide to Sound Objects, 1984
THIRD SYMPHONY, Audio-divisive
Work on video-audio for fixed sounds (two tracks) and fixed images (one screen), in ten movements. 2016.
First performance of the version with English subtitles. 1h28 ‘
After two symphonies of musique concrète, including La Vie en Prose, 2010 (published by Brocoli), I wanted to create an “enlarged” symphony with projected images, in the manner that the Ninth of Beethoven or the Third of Mahler were expanded with solo singers and choirs. Despite the high number of movements, the symphonic form is prevalent: a very developed Scherzo, a Largo desolato which corresponds to a slow and funereal meditation, and a last movement that functions like a Finale. And above all, the term symphony embodies the idea of a work, which has meaning only as a composition, a whole.
I have invented the term “audio-divisive” to make it clear that what I called “audio-vision” in 1990, that is, the perception of simultaneous sounds and images, is certainly more than a simple addition, but also the opposite of a fusion where everything would amalgamate. In this work, sounds and images are proposed together or separately: certain movements are acousmatic (without vision of the source), other athorybes (moving images without corresponding sounds), the majority audio-divisive, according to various formulas. For example, in the Café movement, where I capture a whole five minutes of images and sounds from a Parisian bistro, without changing anything, we have audio-division in the roughest sense of everyday experience, since most of what is heard – the boss, customers – happens outside the visual field, while the sound of much of what we see through the glass is masked by this barrier, and by the urban uproar!
Within this Third Symphony, I also wanted to share my Earth Mass (1992-96), which is rainy, slow and meditative, more solar and familiar, with no religious references. The beautiful “questions of children” discussing with their teacher in the movement VIII, are questions of everyone and for everyone, and give spirit to this work.
M.C., summer 2016
1. Floating element, prologue (audio-divisive)
2. Generic (athorybe)
3. Allegro Animato (mainly acousmatic)
4.5.6. Three interiors: Café (audio-divisuel) – Studio (athorybe) – Room (audio-divisuel)
7. Scherzo Vivace in ten variations (audio-divisive)
8. Intermezzo Anatoribico (audio-divisive)
9. Largo Desolato in memory of Christiane Sacco, writer (1939-1999) (acousmatic)
10. Final, in four external (audio-divisive).
Sound and visual creation, editing and production: M.C.
With the precious help, for the digital finishing, of Jérôme Bloch and Geoffroy Montel.
Commissioned by Motus for the Futura Festival, August 2016 in Crest, France.
Presented by Liquid Architecture, Melbourne International Film Festival, ACMI and Institut FrançaisWe acknowledge the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wathaurung people of the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land in which this event takes place, and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.